Tag Archives: vegetarian

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells


I have made a number of recipes out of Deborah Madison’s fabulous book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone over the years.  My brother is a vegetarian and whenever we get together for Sunday Night Dinner I make sure there is a vegetarian option.  Sometimes it’s just a veggie burger but other times I go out of my way to make sure the main dish is veggie friendly.  Since his birthday was a few weeks ago, I decided to try out another one of Deborah’s recipes in celebration.  This was originally a lasagna recipe but I took a hankering to the shells I saw at the grocery store and modified the recipe to fit.  You could just as easily do stuffed manicotti if you feel like bothering with torn tubes and the subsequent mess.  I’ve determined that they give you extra of those just because of the high failure rate.

As most of the recipes I have tried from the cookbook, this one doesn’t disappoint   The roasting of the eggplant gives it a slight sweetness and the chard really adds a nice depth of flavor.  Even my ‘not so veggie loving’ father-in-law like it.  I had to stop the crowd from devouring the last serving just so I could take this picture.

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 box of Large Stuffed Shells
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 ½ pounds eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on both sides of eggplant slices
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds green chard (about 2 bunches)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
¾ cup grated Romano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2.  Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time until the eggplant is lightly browned on both sides. Chop coarsely.

3.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chard and ½ teaspoon salt, cook until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour wine and cover for about 10 minutes, until the chard becomes tender and the pan is dry. Transfer onto a cutting board and chop finely.

4.  Mix ricotta, chopped chard, 1/3 cup water, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

5.  Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan.

6.  Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture until fairly full but not overflowing.  Place each shell in the pan on top of the tomato sauce.  You may have a few shells left over.
7.  Spread the remaining sauce over the shells.  Spread the cheeses on top of the sauce. 

8.  Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting above the surface. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

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Shrimp Mocktail


There is one ingredient that you will very rarely find on this blog and that’s shellfish.  See, when I reached college age I discovered that I had developed a shellfish allergy.  It took me a while to figure it out what was causing the rather painful attacks as I had been eating shrimp, crab and clams since I was a little girl and never had a problem.  Some of my favorite memories are of clamming with my family at Dillon Beach.  Running around the sand bar, stomping next to little holes in the sand hoping for a thin fountain of water to shoot up and then watching my dad do all of the digging.  Magic.  The homemade clam chowder after, delicious.

After one awful visit to Bubba Gumps and one experimental nibble on a shrimp soon after, there wasn’t any doubt I was allergic.  It’s to the point that I can’t eat anything with even a hint of oyster sauce and long periods in the ocean will give me a nice set of hives.  


This sucks on a number of levels, not the least was giving up a few things I love like crab and cream cheese wontons and shrimp cocktail.  I rejoice whenever I find a Chinese restaurant that cheaps out and uses the fake crab meat in the wontons.  My stomach has proven that there is apparently not an ounce of real crab in the fake stuff.  

I was reading my Bon Appetite the other day and came across this recipe for a “Poor Man’s Shrimp Cocktail”.  Intrigued, I tried it out for Sunday Night Dinner with my friends and family and the general consensus was that it tastes pretty darn close.  Obviously you have to trick your mind a little (or cut up the cauliflower into shrimp shapes) but dipped in the cocktail sauce it is quite delicious.  It uses a crab boil seasoning (I found this at my local supermarket in the seafood section) as a large part of the flavoring.  The recipe is vegetarian/vegan which was a bonus when my vegetarian brother is over.


Shrimp Mocktail

1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (such as Zatarain’s or Old Bay)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2″ florets

1.  Combine crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts water in a large pot. Squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves. 
2.  Set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 10 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic, and lemons from broth; discard.
3.  Return liquid to a rolling boil.  Add cauliflower; turn off heat, cover pot tightly, and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5–10 minutes.
4.  Drain; spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
Cooking Notes: Cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with cocktail sauce for dipping.

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Filed under Appetizer, Recipes, Vegetarian